Thursday, October 08, 2009

Back to the Beta

Marty McFly: Doc, we better back up. We don't have enough road to get up to 88.
Dr. Emmett Brown: Roads? Where we're going we don't need roads.

I'm happy to announce the first major step towards a more reliable, stable, and feature-rich Partychat: Partychapp β.

For the past few weeks, a rogue group of friends have been dedicating their spare time to porting PartyChat over to Google AppEngine. We'd talked about doing this for a long time, but the recently added XMPP support was the missing piece needed to make the whole thing run.

As with the old Partychat, Partychapp is open source and you can track its development through the associated Google Code feeds.

What makes Partychapp better? 95% of Partychat's issues were the result of our Jabber connection -- rate limiting, federation issues, etc. Because Partychapp uses AppEngine's XMPP bridge, jabber connectivity is vastly improved with Partychapp. And those remaining 5% of issues with Partychat? They generally had to do with data persistence, which again AppEngine deals with much more effectively.

Why beta? There are a number of features missing and bugs we need to fix. To track them (and add more!) see: Partychapp Issues. Also AppEngine XMPP doesn't (yet) support custom domains so we can't move over.

So check out Partychapp β. Instructions on how to set up a room (including a web-based invites system!) can be found at

Big, giant, overwhelming thanks go out to Neil, Jason, Kushal, and David who are the people responsible for making Partychapp happen. A special shout out to mpd who added XMPP support to AppEngine, making this all possible.

Friday, August 21, 2009

New /share command

PartyChat is pretty good place to share and talk about links you come across. To make it even easier, we've added a /share url [annotation] command. This command looks up the title of the web page at url and then broadcasts it to the entire party chat, optionally with an annotation.

/share command in action

In other PartyChat news, the source has moved to Project Hosting on Google Code. Among other things this means that there are lots of feeds for keeping up with PartyChat development.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

fixing "offline" bots

Because of some previous issues, bots you've friended before will probably appear offline for you (new bots, however, should appear online just fine)

To make the bots appear online again:

If you're using something like Pidgin, you can "unsubscribe" and then "re-request authorization" to the bot.

If you're using gmail chat (or something similar) go to the "Add Contact" dialogue and re-enter the addresses you were using.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009 bots fixed

We (ok, Craig) figured out why bots were not accepting new invites -- basically we'd hit the number of un-answered invites the jabber server could buffer. Clearing this buffer appears to have fixed the invite issue.

This is probably unrelated to the dropped messages issue. I did upgrade the PartyChat server from Smack 3.0.1 to 3.1.0 last night which can only help.

If you're still seeing offline issues or dropped messages, keep letting us know (via comments on this blog is good) and we'll keep poking around till we get this thing fixed.

Update: bots may appear offline for you. This is because the XMPP server's roster database (i.e. who is friends with who) is now out-of-sync with your chat client. If you're using something like Pidgin, you can "unsubscribe" and then "re-request authorization" to the bot. If you're in a GMail based client, we're still trying to figure out how to do it.

Update 2: If you're using gmail chat (or something similar) go to the "Add Contact" dialogue and re-enter the addresses you were using. This will cause them to re-appear as online to you.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Missing bots and dropped messages

As many of you are aware, there are a number of problems with partychat right now; ranging from bots appearing offline to missing messages.

A few of us are trying diagnose what the underlying issues are. In general, these sorts of problems seem to stem from our connection to Google Talk servers which we have very little control over. Hopefully we'll get everything sorted out and fixed to the best of our ability soon.

Thanks to everyone who's been reporting problems -- it's touching to hear how many different people around the world are using partychat (and I share your frustration with how much of a disruption to your life it is when it's not working properly).

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Apartment internet is out

So partychat is down too. Will bring it back up when connectivity is restored.

Update: This appears to actually be an issue with Google connectivity (PartyChat uses Google Talk as its Jabber host)

Update: Aaaaaand we're back!